“Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges”

09.08.2018 - Article

At the 22nd International AIDS Conference (IAC) – entitled 'Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges' – the German booth staged a co-creative art event. Between July 23 and 27, 2018, the IAC took place in Amsterdam, gathering over 16,000 delegates from around the world.

German booth in the IAC exhibition hall
German booth in the IAC exhibition hall© BMZ

The German booth was jointly hosted by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Ministry of Health (BMG), the German Centre for Health Education (BZgA), German development agency (GIZ), the German development bank KfW and German AIDS-Hilfe (DAH). Numerous visitors appreciated the work it presented, commending it as a good example of how governmental and civil society organisations can constructively work together, both at national level and in the international response to HIV.

Upcycling and inspring

In the context of HIV, which ideas would you like to upcycle? And what inspires you? CommunityArtWorks - two artists committed to transforming social and political processes through art - engaged visitors of the German booth with these questions in a co-creative art event. Delegates from many different countries responded with enthusiasm to this opportunity to reflect on their experiences with HIV work, different programmes they had implemented and personal inspirations in their day-to-day work. They used the materials provided to them at the booth to upcycle and transform their visitor badges into artwork displaying inspirational and often also quite personal messages.

Jennifer Hoernemann from CommunityArtWorks and conference attendee
Jennifer Hoernemann from CommunityArtWorks and conference attendee© BMZ
Building a bridge between the global HIV response and universal health coverage

The conference programme comprised over 3,000 contributions which were presented in different formats, ranging from plenaries and special sessions, pre-conferences to presentations and workshops. The importance of achieving universal health coverage (UHC) cut across many of them. Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, stated that ‘we will not succeed in ending HIV if we do not build the UHC platform’. Many researchers and civil society representatives agreed with him but reminded delegates that – due to continuing stigma and discrimination - UHC was still out of reach for many key populations, be it sex workers, people who inject drugs, transgender people, prisoners or men who have sex with men and their sexual partners. Making UHC and, as part of it, comprehensive responses to HIV a reality for all is an imperative for the international community in the coming years.


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